Friday, June 3, 2016

2016

I should start journaling again - just a quick post to keep this page alive.  Yesterday was Heather's last day of middle school and James' last day of elementary school. Mom came into town for the awards ceremonies.  James won a free fish - we ended up at the pet store, and now they all want a prarie dog.  James got an Oboe today - yet another instrument - we now have clarinet, saxophone, chello, guitar, uke, pianos ... and Autumn wants a violin.  House full of noise-makers!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015

Happy New Year!

As a new year's goal, I want to start writing in a journal again, even if no one reads it, I think it's good to help remember, think, and learn about events.  I've been impressed by several others who write journals - they seem to be more in tune and focused, and I think writing helps them to do that.

Last year was really busy, and I'm afraid next year will be really busy too, but it will be a good kind of busy though.  I just hope I am able to do everything I need to well.

Today was our last day at our old home, headed out for a road trip tomorrow morning back to our other home.  It was good to see everyone, but never enough time to spend with everyone.  There were 19 people all crammed together in this little house tonight, and it was really good to be together with everyone again.  We've all grown old with kids of our own now, time flies so quickly.  It's important to keep in touch with old friends, and with family every once in a while.  The richest blessing in life are the other people who happen to cross your path.

Looking forward to the road trip - good reading and studying time, good time with family, we'll stop off for some more cousin time on the way home too.  It has been a good Christmas.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Update

Haven't blogged in awhile, just to keep this thing up and active, here's what we're up to now!

Doug - He's a boy scout leader, and doing well at work.

Jamie - Teaching at LSC, running a volunteer science lab, science fair chair, and piano teacher, and science olympiads coach = crazy busy!

Heather - Acing her AP classes, playing Cello in orchestra, a science olympian, track, basketball, guitar, and piano.

James - Boy scouts, chess club, piano, and a gamer.

Autumn - Piano, art, takes care of all our pets (ferret, 2 dogs), loves running, and biking with me on the greenbelt. 

Life is busy, but life is good!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Penny's Autobiography

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Thank you so much to everyone helping translate this!!

You can double click on any of the images, or right click, and say "view image" to get a better view, I hope just posting it on here works.  Thank you so much again for helping us, this means a lot to our family.

Friday, December 14, 2012

James' Baptism Story

Friday Dec 14th, 2012.

Tomorrow James will be baptized!  I can't believe how fast time flies, it seems just yesterday that we were bringing him home from the hospital.  I'm making him a baptism memory book, like I made one for his sister (link),  here is what I am putting in it so far:


Dear James,
  I wrote a story for Heather for her baptism, and I wanted to do the same for you.  The story I’ve chosen for you is a story about two brothers – an older brother, and a younger brother.  I chose this story for you because you are Autumn’s older brother, and you are also Heather’s younger brother.  You are an older brother and a younger brother all wrapped up in one.  This is a retelling of another story, a story that is often puzzled over, and leaves everyone a little uneasy after reading I think.  The original story does not have an ending, and it does not fill in very many details, so I’ve tried to do that.  It’s a rough draft, everything is always a rough draft, and if you can think of a better way to fill in the details of this story, or to bring an ending to it, I would love to hear what you think.  In my mind, it’s not really a story about two different people, I think it’s really more of a story of the two halves of our self.  There is part of us in each of the brothers, and there has to be some way to reconcile those two halves.  It’s also a story about a family, and baptism is about joining a family with all the joys and sorrows that can entail.  I love you so very much, and hope you will find peace and balance within your life as you learn how to best live with others, and how to best live with yourself. 


Two Brothers. 
Adapted from Luke 15:11-32.

A certain man had two sons… The oldest son was a hard-working righteous child who honored his parents and was honored by them in return.  Friends and distant relatives praised his noble character and admonished their children to be more like him.  He was the subject of praise and envy, of high expectations, trust, and pride. 

As time went by, the man was blessed with another son.  If you have lived in a family with more than one child, you already know some of the stereotypes which surround both the first born, and the baby of the family.  The older children are blessed with the advantage of age and will always be a little more experienced, wise, and talented than the younger members of the family.  The youngest children often compare themselves to their older, more experienced sibling without ever having the ability to quite measure up.  Their older sibling gets more freedom, while those who are younger are disciplined in what they still have to learn.

Although the oldest son’s life looked blessed, free, and effortless, he was always anxious about letting others down, and living up to his reputation.  He thought others would like him more if he worked and studied harder, so that is what he did.  But, the older son received less attention when the younger brother was born, and his hard work was often just taken for granted instead of earning him the respect and love he thought it would.  He struggled in silence trying to be content, but inside he was resentful of how little he was given for all that he did, and how much his younger brother was given for what little he did. 
      
As time went by, the elder brother became more and more judgmental and condescending to his little brother.  The older brother still did all of the right things, but now he was doing them for all the wrong reasons.  Working hard and being responsible profits you nothing if your work is not done with humility and charity.  The older brother had become too focused on the value of work, and his actions became a prideful self-righteous display that left the younger brother feeling rebellious and resentful.  He wanted to be loved – not for what work he could do – but for himself.  And so it was that one day, the younger son asked his Father for his inheritance, and left the home of his birth.

   As the younger son traveled through the countryside, he took pleasure in his freedom. He was no longer compared to his older brother, or judged by his past accomplishments, but was given a fresh start to be who he wanted to be.  He had been trained well by caring parents, and this background gave him many advantages in comparison with most of the other vagabonds which roamed the countryside.  For the first time in his life the younger son experienced what it was to be looked up to by those around him.

The younger son loved praise and admiration, but lacked the maturity to know the difference between genuine praise, and the false praise used by robbers to get gain.  There was a void in his heart where his family had once been, and the younger brother tried to fill that void with the strangers that he met.   He wasted his substance with riotous living to surround himself with company, but no matter how many people he surrounded himself by, he still felt alone.   

We are influenced by, and become like, those we are around.  It did not take long for the younger son to become like those in the far country he found himself in.  With time, he was no longer a strange new wealthy tourist worthy of attention.  The younger son became a fellow citizen like everyone else.  His previous fame dimmed and vanished, and praise vanished as his inheritance slipped away.  Short lived pleasures had robbed him of the brighter future he could have had.   And so it was, that when sickness and famine swept through the far country, the younger brother found himself alone competing with pigs for food.

“You don’t know what you have, until it’s gone” they say.  With gnawing pains in his stomach, no warm bed to rest his head on, and a sad lonely heart, the younger brother thought back to the great feasts in the home of his birth.  He remembered the security and comfort of being held in his parent’s arms, and the peace and strength that comes from belonging to a strong family.  He now understood, through painful experience, the wisdom behind what he had been asked to do.  I will arise and go to my father, reasoned the younger son, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 

The younger son thought of the kindly servants whom he had grown up with.  Unlike his older brother, the servants had never looked down on him.  He realized how much love he had received from his nursemaid, and thought of the many acts of kindness that had been shown to him by all the humble servants.  They had been there for him before, and perhaps they would not mind if he was allowed to join them again.  And so it was that the younger son stood up and started walking down the road back to his home – back to the servants which he loved, to try and recapture, as much as he could, what had been lost. 

It was not a servant, but his father, who first recognized and ran out to greet him as the young son neared his old home though.  As a child we see our parents as parents instead of people.  In that moment, the younger son started to see his father as a person – a person who had recognized the struggles of the younger son; a person who loved him enough to give him the resources and freedom to go into the world and learn those things that could not be learned at home. 



“When the younger son was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put
it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15: 20-24

The older son was angry when his rebellious younger brother was given robe and ring and fatted calf. It seemed terribly unjust that anyone would play music, dance, and celebrate someone he felt should be punished for wasting their inheritance and not following the commandments.  He did not recognize the pain the younger brother had experienced, or see that that his heart had been changed. 

the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7

The older son “was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to
his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:28 - 32

The younger brother had learned some hard lessons, and had gained a deep appreciation for his family that his older brother did not have.   

The first year back home was marked with both joys and sorrows. A joyful reunion, but with sorrow over lost memories and an awkwardness over the lost familiarity which comes between people who have been separated for some period of time. The young son had to get to know everyone all over again. He had to make amends the best he could towards those whom he had hurt, the last of which, was his older brother.

On the anniversary of his return, after a year of hard work, the youngest brother had saved up enough to give robe and ring and his best fatted calf to his older brother. The younger honored the older with singing and dancing and feasting the likes of which no one had ever seen before. At the end of the evening, the younger brother knelt weeping in front of his older brother, asking for forgiveness for being rebellious and not listening to the advice that would have saved him so much anguish and pain.  The younger brother had learned the sorrow of being alone, and was now willing to do everything in his power to win back his brother and be united with his family. The older brother took him up in his arms, forgave him, and asked the younger brother for forgiveness – for not receiving him back home with the warmth and joy he should have had, for pridefully looking down on someone he should have had love for, and for not admitting his own influence in pushing the younger brother away.  He confessed his honest frustrations with life, and apologized for using his younger brother as a scapegoat.  There were tears and hugs all around between friends and family, who, after a years of being together, had finally become truly united through honesty, repentance and forgiveness. 

In the coming years the humble younger son became a treasured friend and confidant among those around him. No one felt embarrassed or little around him because he had made bigger mistakes than anyone else. The younger son listened to others, and when he spoke or gave advice he did so in humility through personal experience rather than merely from a book. Although forgiven, the humble younger son worked hard to repay his debt, always mindful of where other roads led. The reliable older son also worked hard and prospered through his industry and thrift, but now he worked without pride, and without the need for praise or acknowledgement.  He embraced the principle of charity.

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,

 and have not charity,

I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy,

and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;

and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,

and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,

and though I give my body to be burned,

and have not charity,

it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1 - 3

  The reliable older son was honored by all for his steadfast obedience, forgiveness, and love.  The younger was honored for his humility, wisdom, and appreciation of the simple things in life. The next generation who grew up in that household never knew all the details behind a certain yearly celebration, but they did know their family was distinguished above others by the love and care which everyone had for one another. 

And they all lived happily ever after!




As you go through life, you’ll find many different people who are all at different points on their journey.  We all struggle with different things, and have different strengths and weaknesses.  I hope that you will try not to look down on others for their weaknesses, but will learn from their mistakes, as they are also learning.  No one is perfect.  I find when we are honest about our own mistakes, we are less judgmental of others.  I hope that none of us ever finds our self too far from home, but that if we do, we will not hesitate to come back.  May you understand that it is through humble honesty, repentance, charity, and forgiveness that you can become united with your fellow brothers and sisters within the family of Christ.  The biggest glory of the
Celestial Kingdom, what everything is building up to, is being eternally united with the ones we love.  May you choose the right and keep the commandments so that you can experience the joys that real togetherness brings is my wish for you on your baptism day.  Know that I love you, and am so proud of all the good choices you are making in your life. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Conference Weekend!  One of the talks was about a T-shirt, so I thought I would make up a t-shirt design too.  Here it is!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

School's End

Awards, bike rodeo, and bike trip to East End. Autumn and I have gone to East End quite a few times... I'm going to miss our little one-on-one nature outings when she's in kindergarten...
James was awarded the Mathematician award! I guess he takes after the nerdy side of the family ;)




Autumn snuck in, one of the teachers caught her at the end - "Hey - you're not a first grader!" She did great on the little obstacle coarse though!







"She nods her head when I talk to her. I think she's trying to teach me how to fly..." - Autumn

















Blueberries by the driveway - almost time to head to Moors-head!

Lots of squash in the garden! white, and yellow.

Art Car Parade!